Tekken 3D: Prime Edition
Developer: Namco Bandai Games, Arika Release Date: February 17th
Publisher: Namco Bandia Games ESRB Rating: Teen
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS MSRP: US$39.99

The 3DS is no stranger to fighting games; with such titles as Street Fighter and Dead or Alive gracing the platform, it has become quite the home for portable fighters. So when Tekken 3D: Prime Edition released, the competition had already left its mark and, more so, the bar had been set.

Tekken 3D: Prime Edition is an altered version of Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion at its core, shrunken down to the 3DS and packed in with the film Tekken: Blood Vengeance, which is also in 3D. While the game succeeds in many ways, it does falter just short of becoming the definitive portable Tekken experience.

But the most important aspect of the game that many will be asking is ‘How does it hold up on the 3DS?’ I can safely say the core gameplay remains intact and works well, though the controls can take a little while to get used to. This is purely due to the placement of the directional pad and is more of a hardware problem than the game’s fault. Once you overcome this you will find this to be the best portable Tekken when it comes down to pure gameplay. Running at a constant 60 frames per second both with 3D on and off, the gameplay does not suffer in the slightest. The game is quick and responsive and it is what you expect from a Tekken game at this point.

Shrunk down on the 3DS, Tekken is one of the best fighting games you will find on the sytem.

Combos and juggles are easy to pull off after you get used to the button layout.  For those wanting to jump straight in or are more akin to casual play, the touch screen comes with four touch inputs that allow for combos to be mapped to each button. These are fully customisable for each fighter and are very useful in mapping throws or button configurations that require multiple buttons to be held down at once. The touch controls in some degree make up for the limitations of the handheld itself.

With the game sporting 42 fighters, you are spoiled for choice. Returning fans will find their favourites here, with the line up consisting of all the fighters found in Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion. Each character has two costumes with the option of unlocking alternative colours palettes through player rankings. Sadly customization of a character’s outfit, a feature that has become a staple in the series, has been dropped in this edition–which is not the only thing missing.

To say this version of Tekken is bare bones in comparison to previous portable versions of Tekken is an understatement, especially Tekken: Dark Resurrection for the PSP. Instead of saying what the game doesn’t have, I’ll just go through what is here. You have Special Survival which sees you fighting a series of fighters in succession using one life bar; Quick Battle, which plays like arcade mode without the final boss battle, and Practice, which is what you would expect. That is it.

Customization is gone, but at least some costumes remain with multiple colour schemes to choose from.

Tekken 3D: Prime Edition features online versus battle that can be played locally or online, but as of this review online feels like an uphill battle, and that is not down to tough competition.  A smooth experience is vital for anyone that cares about fighting online–that is not what you will find here. The online play is riddled with lag  so bad that matches can turn in to a slideshow. Even if you are able to find a match, it just isn’t an enjoyable experience. This may change in the future but currently you’d be best sticking to fighting the CPU or local play. For a game lacking in modes, this is really disappointing.

For what it’s worth the 3D works well, but it’s not something that makes the game any better–it’s what you would expect from a 3D game. It looks nice running at 60 frames per second in 3D, which is an impressive technical achievement. All the fighters look great and are a significant jump up from those found on the PSP version of Tekken. While the fighters are richly detailed, the same can’t be said for the stages, though. In comparison to Tekken 6 Bloodline Rebellion, stages look barren and lifeless, which is most likely down to getting the game running at 60 frames per second.

There is also a collectable card system but it is a novelty at best. Cards can be collected through street pass trading or by unlocking them by playing the modes available. The cards are made up of screen shots from the film Tekken Blood Vengeance  and concept art renders from the Tekken series. But the cards add nothing to the core gameplay, not even as an element to unlock alternative attires or stages. It just comes across as a pointless addition.

Tekken Blood Vengeance has been one of the most advertised points about this version of Tekken. If the game was as feature rich as prior games and this was included, it would be a more compelling product. There just isn’t a lot to be said about the film; it is there if you are interested, but for most it will be something you watch and never go back to.
The choice is simple

Tekken 3D: Prime Edition is hugely disappointing because the core gameplay is still as fierce and addicting as it has ever been. It’s just everything surrounding that core gameplay feels like it has been stripped bare of content. Fans of the series will appreciate the care and attention that went into delivering the Tekken experience onto the 3DS, but for anyone else Tekken 3D: Prime Edition is a much harder sell–especially considering this is a full priced release.

Story: N/A
Graphics: ★★★★★★★★★☆
Gameplay: ★★★★★★★★★☆
Audio: ★★★★★★★★☆☆
Balance/Difficulty: ★★★★★★★★★☆
Intangibles: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆
Overall: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

So how does our rating system work? Read more here.

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